Glasgow considers Workplace Parking Levy

Businesses in Glasgow could be charged to offer parking spaces to their staff, under plans being considered by the city council.

It is hoped that the measure would encourage those working in the centre of the city to shift to ‘sustainable and active’ transport methods.

Glasgow could be one of the first cities to adopt a low emission zone in Scotland

Early stages of discussion on the proposal will take place at a meeting of the council’s Environment, Sustainability and Carbon Reduction Policy committee next week (27 November).

The move comes as the city council prepares for the introduction of Scotland’s first Low Emission Zone from the end of December – which aims to address high levels of air pollution in parts of the city.

A Workplace Parking Levy would effectively see employers who offer parking to their staff issued with a charge per space that they provide.

It would mirror a similar initiative in the Nottingham which came into effect in 2010 – which charges employers around £400 per year for each space offered to staff.

Approval

In order to implement its own such scheme Glasgow city council would be required to gain approval from the Scottish Government – as Scottish local authorities do not currently possess the power to do so independently. A similar measure is also being considered in Edinburgh.

In documents published ahead of next week’s meeting, Glasgow council officers noted: “The potential advantages to introducing a WPL would be to encourage a modal shift towards more sustainable and active travel options and reduce congestion caused by single occupancy private car trips. A WPL scheme would also complement the Low Emission Zone, the first phase of which comes into force in Glasgow at the end of 2018, in terms of reducing harmful traffic emissions.

“A WPL scheme could also provide a funding stream for major transport improvement schemes. An example of this is in Nottingham, where WPL funds have been used as a contribution towards major sustainable transport improvements including electric buses and extensions to the tram network. The scheme in Nottingham has generated around £25million in its first three years of operation.”

Funding

Glasgow-based charity Environmental Protection Scotland has welcomed the proposal, but has urged the council to ensure that any revenue is put back into public transport initiatives and infrastructure for walking and cycling.

The organisation has also called for clear consultation with residents and businesses on any firm proposals.

EPS policy and communications officer John Bynorth, said: “A Workplace Parking Levy is a useful additional tool for the city council which could complement its Low Emission Zone, but a joined up approach is required to ensure it contributes to improving health of its workers and improving public transport, cycling and walking to work.”

On the consultation on the measures, he added: “It is vital communities, businesses and transport providers are properly consulted on a Workplace Parking Levy to ensure that large numbers of vehicles are not simply being shifted from being parked in city centre car-parks to residential areas on the outskirts of Glasgow, from where motorists can simply complete their journey by catching the nearest train, bus or Subway.

“This could impact on communities by potentially leading to worse air pollution, particularly around schools, increased congestion and parking problems in these areas.”